Getting the nutrients we need to stay healthy is important at every age, and the needs of our bodies change over time. As we age, we make less of some naturally-occurring nutrients, like Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) , leaving it up to us to fill in those gaps.1 Plus, it’s a good time to add support in other areas too if you haven’t already, like calcium to keep our bones strong, supplements to help keep joints healthy and more.
Your 50s are a great time to take a closer look at your overall wellness needs and embrace some healthy additions to your self-care routine for supporting wellbeing into the future. Here are our expert picks in supplements for women in their 50s.
#1 CoQ10 for Cellular Energy & Heart Health
Your body makes some CoQ10, but production declines with age, and low levels of CoQ10 have been linked with cardiovascular concerns.1 Plus, CoQ10 plays a key role in converting food into energy.1,2
CoQ10 supplements support cardiovascular health in many important areas.1,2 It’s also beneficial for people taking statins because CoQ10 may help reduce the muscle-related effects of statins.2
When shopping for a CoQ10 supplement you’ll notice that there are two types available—ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10, and your body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol.2 They are both great options, but some experts say that younger people may get more benefits from ubiquinone, and older people may benefit more from ubiquinol, potentially because as we age our bodies may lose the ability to make ubiquinol from ubiquinone.2
#2 Turmeric for Cognitive Health & Digestion
Turmeric, and a carotenoid within turmeric known as curcumin, pack in a wealth of wellness benefits for women in their 50s—from cognitive support to promoting healthy joints, circulation, digestion, skin and more.3 Many of those benefits are attributed to the powerful antioxidant effects of curcumin.4
Research has shown that high-absorption Theracurmin® curcumin supplements may have a positive impact on memory, mood and attention.5 And the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in turmeric have a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal system and provide support for digestion. 3
With so many potential benefits, turmeric is an obvious choice for your wellness routine in your 50s. If you want to learn more about the benefits of and differences between turmeric and curcumin supplements, read Turmeric vs Curcumin: What is the Difference?
#3 Calcium for Strong Bones & More
Did you know that your entire skeleton is replaced approximately every ten years?6 To do that your body reabsorbs old bone while creating new, and if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, or if you don’t absorb enough calcium from the foods you eat, your body might not make enough of the strong, new bone you need to stay healthy.6
In general, bone mass or bone density tends to decrease as we get older, especially for women after menopause, due to a loss of calcium and other minerals.7 And a decrease in bone density can make us more vulnerable to injuries and other health concerns.6 That’s why it’s so important to get enough calcium throughout life, and it’s especially important for women in their 50s. Calcium is also needed for the healthy functioning of our heart, muscles and nerves.8
Try supplementing your diet with a highly-absorbable Calcium Citrate supplement to help build and support strong bones in your 50s and beyond, but taking calcium supplements alone may not be enough. Keep reading to learn about some important nutrients that affect how your body absorbs calcium.
#4 Vitamin D3 for Calcium Absorption & Immune Function
Experts recommend taking vitamin D supplements with calcium because vitamin D plays a role in calcium absorption, making it an essential nutrient for optimal bone health.9 Vitamin D promotes both calcium absorption in the gut and helps maintain adequate calcium and phosphate levels needed for new growth and remodeling of bones.10
Without adequate vitamin D levels we won’t absorb enough calcium from the foods we eat, so the body may start taking calcium from stores within our bones, which weakens the bones and affects future bone development.8 Vitamin D also supports immune function, modulation of cellular growth and more.10
Despite its many vital roles in maintaining health, research suggests that most Americans don’t have adequate levels of vitamin D.11 Keep your levels up with a vitamin D3 supplement, which may be twice as effective as D2 for raising your vitamin D levels.12
You can read more about the benefits and food sources of vitamin D, plus how much you need in Say Hello to the Sunshine Vitamin: Top Foods High in Vitamin D.
#5 Magnesium for Stress & Overall Wellness
Magnesium is another important mineral that plays a role in calcium absorption, but it does a lot more too. In fact, magnesium is involved in hundreds of process in our bodies including muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, energy production and more.13
Magnesium contributes to the structural development of bone.13 And it’s involved in the transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes, which is necessary for healthy nerve impulses, muscle contraction and heart rhythm.13
Magnesium simply isn’t optional when it comes to supporting overall wellbeing. Some experts have also referred to magnesium supplements as “the original chill pill” because, in addition to all the other benefits, magnesium has a calming, stress-reducing effect that benefits both body and mind.14
#6 Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain & Heart Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are two essential fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—found in marine and plant sources like salmon, tuna, krill and flax seeds. These nutrients are so important for maintaining health as we age that European researchers reported if everyone over 55 took 1 gram of omega-3s daily, Europe would save €12.9 billion (about 15 billion USD) in health costs.15
What do omega-3 fatty acids do for your body? There are more than a dozen science-based benefits of omega-3s including the following, which are excellent women in their 50s:
- Eye Health: DHA is a structural necessity for healthy retinas16
- Heart Health: Cultures that eat more omega-3 rich foods have lower rates of heart health concerns and research has attributed that, in part, to omega-3 fatty acids16
- Joints & Bone Health: Researchers say omega-3 may increase calcium levels in bone and contribute to stronger bones, which also helps joints, and it supports joint health in other ways too16
- Sleep Better: Low levels of DHA have been linked to having trouble sleeping16
- Positive Mood: People who consume omega-3 regularly generally feel more positive overall16
- Skin: Supports healthy skin cell membranes and has anti-aging skin benefits16
The omega-3 supplement you are probably most familiar with is fish oil, and that’s a great option, but there are other options too, like krill oil or our Plant Based Omega-3, which won the 2018 Omega-3 Product of the Year award from NutraIngredients USA.
Learn about the biggest differences between fish oil and krill oil in the article Krill Oil Vs. Fish Oil: Which Has More Benefits?
#7 B-Complex Vitamins for Energy & Wellbeing
B-complex vitamins work together to support many vital functions in the body including energy production, cellular health, supporting the growth of red blood cells, healthy brain function, digestion, nerve function, hormones, cardiovascular health, and muscle tone.17
If all the above benefits aren’t enough, consider that even a mild vitamin B12 deficiency may put us at risk of developing cognitive health concerns as we age.18 Vitamin B-12 is essential for optimal brain function, and since we may have trouble absorbing B12 from food sources as we age, the Institutes of Medicine has recommended that most adults over 50 get their vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods.19
Learn more about the benefits of each B-complex vitamin in Your Complete Guide to B Vitamins.
#8 Glucosamine Sulfate for Healthy Joints
You may not experience joint health issues in your 50s, but now is still the time for adding joint care to your routine to help keep your joints healthy as you age. Over time, the natural cushioning in joints break down and it’s important to get ahead of that concern.7 Research has shown that glucosamine sulfate may slow that natural breakdown of joint cushioning when taken over extended periods of time.20
Glucosamine sulfate is almost always derived from shellfish, so if you have a shellfish allergy, you might consider glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL) supplements instead. Always read product labels to check ingredients and warnings. While glucosamine sulfate is the focus of most studies highlighting the benefits of glucosamine, glucosamine hydrochloride does provide similar benefits for joint health, and it may be an alternative for people looking for glucosamine without shellfish.21
#9 Black Cohosh for Hormonal Support
Black cohosh is made from the roots of the North American black cohosh plant, and it’s one of the most researched supplements for support during menopause.22 Black cohosh supplements are often taken to support hormonal balance and to help with concerns associated with menopause like hot flashes, mood support, sleep issues, heart concerns, night sweats and sexual health.23
While this “feminine herb” is most often taken to help ease the transition into menopause, it may also help promote hormonal balance during the menstrual cycle.23 If you are taking any prescription medicines, including birth control, be sure to check with your doctor before taking black cohosh and always follow the directions on the product label.
Bonus: Real Food Multivitamins for Women
It isn’t always possible to consistently meet nutritional needs through food alone, so fill in your nutrient gaps by taking a multivitamin made from real food ingredients.
Swanson’s Real Food Multi Women’s Daily also includes the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha to help fight the effects of daily stress, plus cranberry concentrate and turmeric extract, along with an array of essential vitamins and minerals for women, many of which are mentioned in the list above. Learn about more herbal supplements that support healthy aging in the article Why Choose Condition Specific Herbs for Energy, Joint, Heart and Brain Health?
If you do opt for a multivitamin, read the label closely before taking additional vitamins and supplements just to make sure you aren’t getting more of a particular nutrient than you need.
Health and Wellness at Every Age
Educating yourself on what you can do now to stay healthy and happy at every age is a great first step. Since you are reading this article, that means you are being smart about nutrition by learning what your body needs as you age. Proper nutrition plays a huge role in your wellness journey, and we’re excited to take that journey with you.
Also, since staying active is important in your 50s too, check out Move More: How to Move More Each Day for easy tips to fit more activity into your days, and Pack Your Pantry: How to Make a Real Food Pantry for tips on stocking your healthiest pantry yet.
1 Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178961/ (Accessed 03/20/2018)
2 CoQ10: What are the Heart Health Benefits? Cleveland HeartLab http://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/horizons-coq10-what-are-the-heart-health-benefits (Accessed 03/20/2018)
3 Turmeric Uses & Effectiveness: WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-662-turmeric.aspx?activeingredientid=662 (Accessed 11/16/2017)
4 Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/ (Accessed 2/21/2018)
5 Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1064748117305110 (Accessed 2/14/2018)
6 What causes bone loss? MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000506.htm (Accessed 07/11/2018)
7 Aging changes in the bones - muscles - joints. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004015.htm (Accessed 07/11/2018)
8 Calcium & Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. National Institutes of Health. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-every-age (Accessed 07/11/2018)
9 The Effect of Vitamin D on Calcium Absorption in Older Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/97/10/3550/2834101?redirectedFrom=fulltext (Accessed 07/11/2018)
10 Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
11 Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
12 Anderson, David. (2017). Time to Change Vitamin D Guidelines? William Reed Business Media.https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2017/07/06/Time-to-change-vitamin-D-guidelines?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=11-Aug-2017&c=RVvfvNB0441yY%2FbnAqftIcOrnTK%2FK6Op&p2= (Accessed 3/7/2018)
13 Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/11/2018)
14 Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill (Accessed 07/11/2018)
15 Omega-3 supplementation could save EU 12.6bn a year in heart disease spending. NutraIngredients. https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2016/05/10/Omega-3-supplements-could-save-EU-billions-in-heart-disease-spending (Accessed 07/11/2018)
16 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3 (Accessed 07/12/2018)
17 Why Is Vitamin B Complex Important, and Where Do I Get It? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-b-complex (Accessed 07/12/2018)
18 Supplements to Take in Your 50s, 60s and 70s. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2015/must-have-supplements.html (Accessed 07/12/2018)
19 Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ (Accessed 07/12/2018)
20 Glucosamine Sulfate. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/807.html (Accessed 04/05/2018)
21 Glucosamine Hydrochloride. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/747.html (Accessed 04/09/2018)
22 11 Supplements for Menopause. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/menopause/ss/slideshow-menopause (Accessed 07/12/2018)
23 Black Cohosh. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-black-cohosh (Accessed 07/12/2018)
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